This Statue of Shiva is Approximately 65 feet tall and is made of concrete and is located at Murugeshpalya at Bangalore. There is a tunnel like structure underneath the statue where different models of Shiva are kept. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Practitioner can enjoy the considerable emotional and health benefits of meditation, but no meditative practice is one-size-fits-all. Countless mind-body techniques have arisen to suit individual preferences. If you’ve been looking for a new type of practice, or you’ve been struggling with traditional forms of meditation, there are a number of lesser-known styles that may suit your needs. Perhaps imagining yourself in a peaceful garden will help to quiet racing thoughts, or focusing your gaze on a flame in front of you will restore a sense of inner calm.
All of us have different ways of clearing our minds and returning to our center: From deep, guttural laughter, yes, that is a type of meditation to pondering life’s most head-scratching questions. These unusual meditation techniques could give your practice a boost — and help you find your own path to enlightenment.
Buddhist Boot Camp
In our frantic, fast-paced lives, it can be difficult to completely switch gears and let go of our competitive natures, even when we’re trying to slow down and find balance. Touting itself as an "ideal training method for this generation’s short attention span," Buddhist Boot Camp is a new title instructing readers on the basics of Buddhism and meditation using a no-nonsense approach.
If you’re looking for a mesmerizing moving meditation, try a practice of walking through a labyrinth. Many churches, gardens and other outdoor spaces feature labyrinths that are available for public use. It’s said that the combination of left and right-brain activity required of navigating a labyrinth can help with problem-solving and can even spur unexpected epiphanies.
Journey meditation can transport your mind, using visualization, to a more quiet and serene state. To try this type of meditation, simply imagine yourself in a beautiful place completely separated from your everyday life; somewhere you feel safe. Try starting for 5-10 minutes, visualizing a garden, tropical island or peaceful mountaintop to slow down the mind and remind yourself of the world’s beauty.
Laughter, and even the mere anticipation of impending laughter, can reduce damaging stress hormones — and it can also boost levels of healthy hormones. Laughter meditation, then, can be a particularly effective way to relieve stress.
The powerful act of mindful laughter anchors us in the present and brings us to a place of joy. Try starting out with a 5-20 minute laughter meditation by imagining humorous situations and letting yourself laugh fully and deeply, ending with a brief silence.
Energy Of The Fire Element
There are several different ways to benefit from the energy of the fire element in your meditative practice. One common method is to focus on the flame of a candle that you’ve placed three to six feet in front of you. After you’ve gazed at the flame for several minutes, close your eyes and imagine it: Send anything that threatens your balance and peace into the flame, and feel yourself becoming more light and pure. You can also try simply visualizing a fire and throwing your worries — and bits and pieces of emotional baggage, no matter how big or small — into the fire, asking for forgiveness as you go.
We’ve all heard the old riddle, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" But you may not have realized that this and other philosophical questions can form the basis for a meditative practice called Koan Meditation. Koan meditation is a method to directly see one’s Buddha nature by asking a question. Koan means a spiritual question in Zen tradition and it is used as means of gaining spiritual awakening. Koan generally contains aspects that are inaccessible through rational understanding, yet accessible to intuition. A famous Koan is:
What body did you have before your parents conceived you?
When a person is in deep, dreamless sleep, where is the numinous awareness that makes one sentient?
All things are created by the mind. What does this mean?
Mind is Buddha. What does this mean?
Why is it that there is samsara for sentient beings but liberation for all the buddhas?
A person who practices well is not separate from the self-nature. What is this practice which is not separated from the self-nature?
How are mind, nature, principle, and energy the same?
Are all things in the universe subject to arising and ceasing or free from arising and ceasing?
The karmic retributions of cause and effect among all things in the present life occur by knowing one another. But how do the retributions of later lives occur, when they have forgotten their past lives and no longer recognize one another?
Heaven and earth know without knowing anything. What does this mean?
The numinous awareness of people who attain nirvana is merged with the dharmakaya. How, then, do individual spirits become divided again and the standard for distinguishing past and future lives come into existence?
I have a volume of scripture that is written without paper or ink. It does not contain a single word yet always radiates light. What does this mean?
Calcite Crystal Healing
Crystals can be used as part of a meditative practice to help target specific emotions and reach particular spiritual goals. Calming blue stones, for instance, can help clear the mind and body, while purple or clear stones aid in achieving elevated states of consciousness (calcite, for instance, symbolizes enlightenment). If you have a particular goal for your practice, try getting there by holding or wearing crystals with the healing properties that can guide you.
Meditation is a mystery to many in the Western world. Sure, they have all heard of it, but most say they "don’t have time" to slow down for it and others say they simply don’t know how or they’ve tried it and couldn’t do it "right." Some even misunderstand it as being against their religion or think something crazy might happen, like they’ll start levitating during a session. While I actually think that levitating would be pretty cool — no, that’s not going to happen! What will happen is a slew of positive health benefits. Regular meditation produces a sense of calm, peace, balance, and reduced stress, anxiety and depression. Meditation also enables you to stay more focused with longer attention span and better thought control than one would without meditation. Other side effects include increased happiness, more creativity, and deeper self-awareness and acceptance. If the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.
Despite all of the fantastic benefits, statistically, less than 10 percent of Americans have a meditation practice. The reason why is quite simple. As a whole, they don’t know any better. They live in a very fast-paced society and have it ingrained in their brains that if they slow down, they are going to get passed up and plowed over. Further, as a society, they are over-medicated and taught that the cure for pretty much everything lies within a pill. Therefore, they have lost faith in their own bodies and its amazing abilities to heal. If doctors wrote out prescriptions to start a meditation practice and fuel bodies with healthy nutrition, then miracles could happen. Since science and technology is advanced in US that they overlook the basics that are right in front of them and easy for all to achieve. There is no money to be made in telling people to meditate, and Americanism is a very profit-driven society.
Americans can all become spiritually rich if they turn to tools like meditation, which help them to raise their mental vibrations and those of the world around them. A meditation practice helps one to get to the core of our being. By stilling mind and silencing the overwhelming abundance of thoughts wildly dancing through at any given time, one is able to hear the voice of our loving inner guide over that of one’s fear-based ego. Once one is able to loosen the tight grasp that the ego mind has on you, you can swap out unpleasant insecurities, anxieties and fears for peace, happiness, and fulfilling our destinies.
You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day — unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour. At first, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to Americans. But, anybody that has had a meditation practice will say, "I totally get it!" When we’re super busy, we usually feel tense and high-strung, which is our body’s normal reaction to stress. Meditation helps us to feel calm and thus allow stress to melt away. Meditating is not going to make our schedules any less hectic. However, it will make us more clear-headed and able to deal with whatever life tosses our way so that we actually begin dancing joyfully amidst the chaos. We’re essentially training our brain how to relax and deal with things in a much more level-headed and peaceful manner.
If this all sounds good to you, but you still have no idea where to begin, here is simple starter pack. Try to set up a little sacred spot in your home to go to every time you meditate. Put a few articles out that inspire you or that you have a spiritual connection too. If not, don’t let that stop you. That point is to just get it in when you can. If you have something specific that you want to meditate on, think or pray about it before you begin your session. You don’t want to try to force or control your thoughts while meditating, so if you have something that you’re seeking guidance on, it’s best bring it up beforehand. Find a quiet spot and sit comfortably. If you have kids, you might need to sneak out of bed before the rest of the house wakes up or do it after they go to bed. You might try headphones with some relaxing music to drown out the noise. Just find a way to make it work with your schedule and lifestyle. Decide how long you will meditate for. Beginners might want to start with just a few minutes a day and gradually increase. Five minutes is better than zero! Just like working out, the benefits will compound over time. Generally, the more frequently and longer, the better, but don’t discount the short sessions. Thirty minutes a day is an excellent goal to strive for. Set a timer. There are many apps you can download for phone or table that have timers, keep logs, and play chimes at the beginning and end of your session. Close your eyes and focus on your breathe. Inhale deeply into your diaphragm and slowly exhale. Don’t force the breathe, but just let it flow naturally as your allow your attention to draw there. Don’t worry if thoughts come while you are meditating. That is going to happen, especially if you’re new to it. Just try to observe the thoughts without judgment. Continue this until your timer lets you know the session is up. Don’t quit early!! Completing your full session time is going to help you build the discipline needed for an ongoing meditation practice. If you stick with it daily and increase your session length over time, you’ll soon notice some positive changes in your life. Try journaling afterwards to log any major insights or an especially great feeling. You will feel so wonderfully grounded, peaceful, and ready to conquer the world!
What can be said in New Year rhymes, which have not been said a thousand times? The new years come, the old years go. We know we dream, we dream we know. We rise up laughing with the light; we lie down weeping with the night. We hug the world until it stings, we curse it then and sigh for wings. We live, we love, we woo, we wed, we wreathe our brides, and we sheet our dead. We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear, and that’s the burden of the year.
Beginning of the year is a good time to hitch on to some good habits and best practices. Get wise, keep fit and have the faith! Remember, you have nothing to lose. Be a better person in body, mind and intellect. Attain peace of mind, and enhance your mental stability and equanimity. Kill pride, ego and arrogance and jealousy and don’t ever let jealousy trouble you. Start reading the Scriptures which have all the knowledge you need to make your earthly existence much more meaningful and wise.
Breathing exercise is a stepping step to staying healthy, fit and energetic. Spare a few moments and find out more about Pranayama. Reap the benefits of yoga for physical discipline. Mastering your mind through meditation may work wonders for your health and happiness. If you’re not yet a vegetarian, find out the benefits of being one. Discover the powers of Ayurveda: The ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda is a boon to mankind. Know all about Ayurveda and read the Ayurveda Encyclopedia.
The holy basil or tulsi is an herbal remedy for a lot of common ailments please be acquainted with the healing powers of this holy power plant. Prayers can make you strong! Discover the power of chanting various mantras. Whether you’re a Hindu or not, whether you belong to the East or West, experiencing the best of both worlds can be most meaningful. A place for prayers can change the way you relate to the divine. So can listening to devotional music. Visiting holy places and temples can be a welcome change from your humdrum routine. Remember, wherever you are, you’re not far from the Absolute!